Planting Life (Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7)

                      Access Sunday and Disablities Awareness Week

The Reverend Sarah Lund has been called as the United Church of Christ’s first Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice.  What inspires her about this role?  The Reverend Lund says, “The UCC’s commitment to disabilities and mental health justice drew me to this position.  I am excited to support the UCC as we seek to live out our commitments to be A2A (Accessible to All) and WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) for mental health.  I am inspired to work with lay leaders and clergy, supporting their efforts to reflect the extravagant love of God in Jesus Christ.

I enjoy the inspiring people I am honored to get to know doing this work.  One of the main things I do is build relationships with pastors, lay leaders, Conference Ministers, National Staff colleagues, seminarians, and members of the wider community as we share stories about how our lives are shaped by disabilities and mental health justice.

The tempatation in the church is to think of disabilities and mental health justice as a side issue.  It is challenging and critical to think of disabilities and mental health justice as part of every other justice issue.  There is great opportunity in the places of intersectionality and that is where we are excited to explore moving forward.  For example, as we continue to engage the whole church in our Sacred Conversations to End Racism, we can include in that conversation how disabilities and mental health justice intersect with racism.

Inviting churches to seek justice with people who live with disabilites and mental health diagnoses is important because it is what Jesus calls us to do.  Jesus’ teaching call us to love our neighbors and loving our neighbors means seeking justice for people who live with disabilities and mental health challenges.

The UCC has a strong history of supporting disabilities and mental health justice thorugh the work of its ministers and congregations.  We celebrate the important role of UCC minister Reverend Harold Wilke, a person with a disability who was a disability rights pioneer and activist involved in the pasage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  We also celebrate the wider church’s commitment at the 25th General Synod in the adoption of the resolution ‘Called to Wholeness in Christ:  Becoming a Church Accessible to All.’  We celebrate that at the 31st General Synod the wider church adopted the resolution to be WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) for mental health.  The challenge that these celebrations offer is the opportunity and responsibility of the ongoing work.”

To find out more about how you can be engaged in this vital ministry, contact

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Surprising Investment (Jeremiah 32: 1-31, 6-15)

Jeremiah, faced with a people and a situation devoid of hope, did what you would expect a man of God to do.  He engaged in a risky real estate transaction.

Okay, you’re right.  That’s actually the very last thing you’d expect a man of God to do when faced with the destruction of his people, his holiest place of worship, his city and his culture.

You’d expect him to exercise prudence, to be careful, to guard what little he had against the coming difficulties.  Instead, Jeremiah negotiated the purchase of a piece of land.

Chief Seattle, leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish people in the Pacific Northwestern United States, said “humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.”

Today’s passage reminds us that God’s children have not always gotten land ownership right.  We have too often used land ownership as a mode of severing ourselves from our connection with all things.  We have made land ownership a tool or a weapon, forgetting that our God is the God of all the world, not just the God of a single people.  Forgetting the connection that binds us with all humanity, we have made land ownership a divine right in our own minds, even committed terrible atrocities to control the land we think we own.

Too often, land ownership has been a matter of greed controlled by violence, instead of a reason for hope and opportunity to experience God’s grace and joy.  What if we thought of stewardship of the land as our part of the web of a connected creation, rather than the opportunity to acquire resources?  What if land ownership was not a divinely ordained right, but instead, we approcathed our care of all land as the joyful result of our interconnection with all beings.

Imagine if our approach to land ownership came from an attitude  of abundance and grace.  How would this have changed our history?  Is there a way that we could bring that attitude with us into the future?

Today, September 29, on American Indian Ministry Sunday, we recognize The Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM).  According to, CAIM “is comprised of five ministries with 22 congregations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota…We are an integral part of the life of the United Church of Christ.  We maintain our Indian traditions by employing our Native values and cultures to witness in our communities through authentic and postcolonial Indian expressions of the Christian faith.  We are a gahtering ‘place’ for all UCC Indian people who seek such a place.”

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Beef and Noodle Dinner, Friday, October 18

Save the date of Friday, October 18, for the annual Beef and Noodle Dinner which takes place at St. John’s UCC from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The dinner includes homegrown beef, noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, apple sauce, roll, assorted pies and beverages.

Cost:  Adults:  $8.00; 6th grade–college:  $5.00; Elementary:  $4.00; Pre-K:  Free.

St. John’s UCC is located at the corner of College Avenue and Jackson Streets in Bluffton (near Bluffton High School).  All are welcome to attend.

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And the Rains Kept Comin’ Down!

We are all aware of the flooding and other hardships caused by Hurricane Dorian and other natural disasters throughout our country.  That is one of the reasons the Board of Christian Education has chosen our mission project for the next two months as filling disaster response kits.  Many of the cleaning materials for helping clean up the mess of a flood or other devastation are included in this bucket.  Please take some items from the list posted on the easel at the back of the church and bring them in by November 2.  If you feel so inclined, you may take a complete list (also posted) and fill the whole bucket.  The approximate cost would be $47 to fill the whole bucket.  The buckets will be driven to Tiffin to the Northwest Ohio Association office of the United Church of Christ for distribution to places as needed.  Any little bit that you can contribute is appreciated.

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Fall Hours Begin September 8, 2019

Beginning September 8, 2019, and continuing until the first Sunday in June, 2020, Faith Formation classes will meet at 9:30 a.m., and worship starts at 10:30 a.m.

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Centering Words for October  13: Hope in the midst of hopelessness can create miracles–even in the worst of times.

Sunday, October 13:  Worship, 10:30 a.m.; Pastor Carol’s meditation is titled “Lookin’ for God in all the Wrong Places”, and is based on Jeremiah 29:1, 3-7, 11-13.  The choir, under the direction of Hannah McBride,  will sing “Resound With Praise” by Hal Hopson.

All are invited to the Second Sunday Lunch following the worship service.

Tuesday, October 15–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; worship and music committee meets at 3 p.m.; TOPS 6 p.m.

Wednesday, October 16–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.; peel potatoes for beef and noodle dinner, 9 a.m.; Excellence in Ministry, 10 a.m. to noon; pastor Carol at MMH, 11:30a.m.; choir practice, 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 17–Community dinner at Senior Center, 6 p.m.

Friday, October 18–Beef and Noodle Dinner, 4:30 to 6: 30 p.m.

Saturday, October 19–Food pantry distribution, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.







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Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday,  September 24, 2019,  please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary.  Helpers are always welcome.

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Facebook Page

You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page.  There are many interesting articles posted every day.  “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!

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St Johns Snow

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This website can now be found at!

In an effort to make this site easier for you to access, it can now be found at!  You can still find this page using the old web address, but now it will be easier to tell family and friends where they can find up-to-date news about St. John’s UCC in Bluffton, Ohio.

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